The Do's and Don'ts of Taking Summer College Courses as a High School Student

Beth Dumbauld

high school_student_studyingSummer is a fantastic time to get a head start on college. By taking summer college courses online, you can affordably get your general education courses out of the way before you start college - and get on the fast track to your college degree.

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Here are 8 essential do’s and don’ts of taking summer college courses for high school students:

DO: Try taking online college summer courses at home, at your friend’s house, the library, or a coffee shop – wherever and whenever you’d like.

DON'T: Take college courses that force you to deal with the expense of transportation costs or the hassle of taking a bus.

College Savings Tip: Taking courses online allows you to use your gas money for other things – and keeps you up to date with the latest educational technologies.

DO: Explore the variety of subject areas available for college credit through online courses.

Check out subjects that interest you, but may not be available at your high school. When you enter college, you’ll have many of your general education courses out of the way, a head start on your degree, and the ability to move on more quickly to advanced courses related to your major.

Need to get credit this summer? Download our free Quick Guide to Online Summer Courses

College Savings Tip: Using online classes to earn college credit while you’re still a high school student can save you thousands of tuition dollars if you accumulate enough credits to bypass a semester (or more) of college before enrolling.

DON'T: Be surprised if you are able to advance farther than you ever thought possible in challenging college course material.

One of the advantages of online learning is the ability to get one-on-one tutoring precisely when and where you need it. Online education allows you to speed up through parts you “get” and to slow down through parts you are having trouble “getting.”

DO: Try on college-level course material in the summer and see how it feels. Maybe you never thought you were college material, or maybe you’re considering enrolling in a challenging degree program. You won’t know what works best for you unless you give it a try.

College Savings Tip: Ultra low cost online college course providers like StraighterLine charge $99/month for unlimited courses (that can earn you real college credit), so you can afford to take a chance on yourself, and invest in your future.

DON'T: Think you are on your own with online courses.

The best online college course providers will offer immediate (and free) access to live tutors, student advisors, and success coaches who will work with you one-on-one as you go through course material.

College Savings Tip: The more support you have, the more successful you will be in your online courses. The more success you have now, the less time and money you spend on your degree later.

DO: Accelerate your preparation for AP tests.

Did you know you can take certified AP courses online? Why not prepare yourself to successfully take AP tests – and potentially enter college with credits already earned.

Keep in mind, taking AP courses online in the summer can free up your class schedule come fall so you can take other AP courses and pass even more AP tests for college credit.

College Savings Tip: The more advanced credit you earn before college, the fewer semesters of college it may take to earn your college degree. Think about what you could do with the time and money you could save.

DON'T: Forget that when you apply to college, your record of academic success goes with you. Why not impress admission officers by showing them you already have what it takes to be successful in college level courses.

College credits you earn before college indicate in a real way that you are motivated, committed to your education, and would make an excellent candidate for acceptance, no matter where you plan on earning your degree.

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